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Field lab: 2013 seed trials overview

Kate Collyns: It's official: seeds can be sexy, ok? As well as their various shapes, colours and textures, it's what they represent in terms of actual food and produce that catches the interest; not to mention what seeds represent when it comes to food sovereignty - owning the ability to reproduce food, not just the food itself. I took part in the Duchy Originals Field Lab seed trials in 2013 because I always like trying out new varieties; but also because it's becoming increasingly clear that specially bred hybrid seeds are becoming more unaffordable for smaller growers (although buying groups can help) and seed can't be saved from the resultant crop; while cheaper open-pollinated seeds may not be as well maintained as they should because there is no money in it.

19 February 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Low Stanger Seeds Trial - Final Update

Low Stanger Farm: Our seed trials are drawing to a close, although we are still harvesting the trial carrots, and have yet to harvest any of the sprouts. The tomatoes are almost over, unusually we have not yet had a killing frost. The chocolate cherry have proved to be a late producing tomato, and are still ripening. Personally, I find the colour, while delightfully chocolatey, a little offputting! However, it does have some merit as a late cropper.

21 October 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Update from Skye Grove Organics

Skye Grove Organics: Tomatoes were grown in polytunnels, horse manure and comfrey and hand watered. Galina has proved to be a robust strong tomato with energy enough to support several leaders, I have trained up to 3 or 4 leaders off each plant.

30 September 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Tomatoes update

Kate Collyns: Since the tomatoes are really peaking now, it's interesting to compare how the trial varieties are performing. While it's been a good year for tomatoes (touch wood), and all varieties have been producing pretty well, I've tried out some varieties that I'll not grow again next year, and found some new ones that I will. Here are some thoughts so far...

04 September 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 4

Trill Farm seed variety field lab update

Trill Farm: Parsnips - Varieties sown are Student, Imperial Crown, Hollow Crown and the control is Tender and True. On the first visit on 21 May the parsnips were only just beginning to show.

03 September 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 4

Trial tomatoes and leeks update

Kate Collyns: So I've finally remembered to note down how many of each trial variety of tomato I planted at the beginning of the month. Jens Tangerine: 13 plants. Galina: 15 plants. Stupice: 15 plants. Chocolate cherry: 2 plants. Then the following from my usual varieties, to compare to the trialists: Tigerella: 27 plants (the best germination). Gardener's Delight: 7 plants (I already have a lot of these already growing outside the trial). Golden Queen: 15 plants. Black Cherry: 6 plants. Overall, the number of plants put in reflects the level of germination, other than as mentioned above. So Chocolate Cherry's germination was not great.

14 June 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 0

Starting seed trials at Grown Green

Kate Collyns: As organic growers, we're usually excited and keen to try new things; and trialling seed varieties seems an especially useful and productive thing to do at the moment, given the hoo-ha recently over the EU's proposals to ban all non-registered seed varieties. Plus although I've only been growing here at Grown Green @ Hartley Farm for a couple of years (before that I was an apprentice at Purton House Organics), I've found myself sticking to some tried and tested varieties. Well, you would, wouldn't you? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

03 June 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Trill Farm seed field lab in leafy Devon

Trill Farm: My first visit was on Tuesday 21 May to record the progress of seed varieties, donated by various vegetable seed breeders. The trial is managed by Ashley and Kate Wheeler at Trill Farm near Axminster Devon. Ash and Kate are running their own business within a larger 300 acre organic farm on a level site of yellow clay loam incorporating several multi-span poly tunnels. Their main crops are salads intended to local restaurants and shops, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Café in Axminster.

31 May 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 5

First results from the Daylesford field labs

Daylesford Organic Farm: Daylesford are growing more than 20 varieties of heritage and open pollinated tomatoes as well as some more modern hybrids. There have been a number of sowings with different varieties featured in each, these will be available in the final report but this post will concentrate on the trial varieties.

30 May 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 0

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